MAPTalk-Digest Monday, December 22 2008 Volume 08 : Number 092
001 Alert #389 The Pentagon Is Muscling in Everywhere
From: Richard Lake <>
002 Benefits of graphic anti-meth ads questioned
From: Doug Snead <>
003 Re: DSADMIN: Traditional Media is alive and well
From: Doug Snead <>
004 It really is alive and well Re: Traditional Media is alive and well
From: Richard Lake <>
005 Kevin Zeese: Traditional media is in major trouble.
From: Doug Snead <>
Subj: 001 Alert #389 The Pentagon Is Muscling in Everywhere
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2008 17:22:08 -0800
THE PENTAGON IS MUSCLING IN EVERYWHERE
DrugSense FOCUS Alert #389 - Sunday, 21 December 2008
Sometime an OPED catches our attention because it pulls together
information which may have been below the radar for many of us. Such
is the OPED below that was printed today on page B01 of The Washington Post.
The author, Thomas A. Schweich served the Bush administration as
ambassador for counter-narcotics in Afghanistan and deputy assistant
secretary of state for international law enforcement affairs.
The OPED covers much related to the military and the war on drugs.
Near the end it references the Posse Comitatus Act. For more on the
Act please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act As
the wiki notes over the past dozen years the Act has been gutted.
We remember the death on May 20, 1997, of Esequiel Hernandez, Jr.
documented on this webpage
http://www.dpft.org/hernandez/gallery/index.html as the first known
death resulting from the changes in the Act. Thus we hope that the
next administration follows the recommendations at the end of the OPED.
Pubdate: Sun, 21 Dec 2008
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2008 The Washington Post Company
Author: Thomas A. Schweich
THE PENTAGON IS MUSCLING IN EVERYWHERE
It's Time To Stop The Mission Creep
We no longer have a civilian-led government. It is hard for a
lifelong Republican and son of a retired Air Force colonel to say
this, but the most unnerving legacy of the Bush administration is the
encroachment of the Department of Defense into a striking number of
aspects of civilian government. Our Constitution is at risk.
President-elect Barack Obama's selections of James L. Jones, a
retired four-star Marine general, to be his national security adviser
and, it appears, retired Navy Adm. Dennis C. Blair to be his director
of national intelligence present the incoming administration with an
important opportunity -- and a major risk. These appointments could
pave the way for these respected military officers to reverse the
current trend of Pentagon encroachment upon civilian government
functions, or they could complete the silent military coup d'etat
that has been steadily gaining ground below the radar screen of most
Americans and the media.
While serving the State Department in several senior capacities over
the past four years, I witnessed firsthand the quiet, de facto
military takeover of much of the U.S. government. The first assault
on civilian government occurred in faraway places -- Iraq and
Afghanistan -- and was, in theory, justified by the exigencies of war.
The White House, which basically let the Defense Department call the
budgetary shots, vastly underfunded efforts by the State Department,
the Justice Department and the U.S. Agency for International
Development to train civilian police forces, build functioning
judicial systems and provide basic development services to those
For example, after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Justice Department
and the State Department said that they needed at least 6,000 police
trainers in the country.
Pentagon officials told some of my former staffers that they doubted
so many would be needed.
The civilians' recommendation "was quickly reduced to 1,500
[trainers] by powers-that-be above our pay grade," Gerald F. Burke, a
retired major in the Massachusetts State Police who trained Iraqi
cops from 2003 to 2006, told Congress last April. Just a few hundred
trainers ultimately wound up being fielded, according to Burke's testimony.
Until this year, the State Department received an average of about
$40 million a year for rule-of-law programs in Afghanistan, according
to the department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law
Enforcement Affairs -- in stark contrast to the billions that the
Pentagon got to train the Afghan army. Under then-Defense Secretary
Donald H. Rumsfeld, the Defense Department failed to provide even
basic security for the meager force of civilian police mentors,
rule-of-law advisers and aid workers from other U.S. agencies
operating in Afghanistan and Iraq, driving policymakers to turn to
such contracting firms as Blackwater Worldwide. After having set the
rest of the U.S. government up for failure, military authorities then
declared that the other agencies' unsuccessful police-training
efforts required military leadership and took them over -- after
brutal interagency battles at the White House.
The result of letting the Pentagon take such thorough charge of the
programs to create local police forces is that these units, in both
Iraq and Afghanistan, have been unnecessarily militarized --
producing police officers who look more like militia members than
ordinary beat cops. These forces now risk becoming paramilitary
groups, well armed with U.S. equipment, that could run roughshod over
Iraq and Afghanistan's nascent democracies once we leave.
Or consider another problem with the rising influence of the
Pentagon: the failure to address the ongoing plague of poppy farming
and heroin production in Afghanistan. This fiasco was in large part
the result of the work of non-expert military personnel, who
discounted the corrosive effects of the Afghan heroin trade on our
efforts to rebuild the country and failed to support civilian-run
During my tenure as the Bush administration's anti-drug envoy to
Afghanistan, I also witnessed JAG officers hiring their own
manifestly unqualified Afghan legal "experts," some of whom even
lacked law degrees, to operate outside the internationally
agreed-upon, Afghan-led program to bring impartial justice to the
people of Afghanistan. This resulted in confusion and contradiction.
One can also see the Pentagon's growing muscle in the recent creation
of the U.S. military command for Africa, known as Africom. This new
command supposedly has a joint civilian-military purpose: to
coordinate soft power and traditional hard power to stop al-Qaeda and
its allies from gaining a foothold on the continent.
But Africom has gotten a chilly reception in post-colonial Africa.
Meanwhile, U.S. competitors such as China are pursuing large African
development projects that are being welcomed with open arms. Since
the Bush administration has had real successes with its anti-AIDS and
other health programs in Africa, why exactly do we need a military
command there running civilian reconstruction, if not to usurp the
efforts led by well-respected U.S. embassies and aid officials?
And, of course, I need not even elaborate on the most notorious
effect of the military's growing reach: the damage that the military
tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and such military prisons as Abu
Ghraib have done to U.S. credibility around the world.
But these initial military takeovers of civilian functions all took
place a long distance from home. "We are in a war, after all," Ronald
Neumann, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, told me by way of
explaining the military's huge role in that country -- just before
the Pentagon seemingly had him removed in 2007 because of his
admirable efforts to balance military and civilian needs. (I heard
angry accounts of the Pentagon's role in Neumann's "retirement" at
the time from knowledgeable diplomats, one of them very senior.) But
our military forces, in a bureaucratic sense, soon marched on
As military officers sought to take over the role played by civilian
development experts abroad, Pentagon bureaucrats quietly populated
the National Security Council and the State Department with their own
personnel (some civilians, some consultants, some retired officers,
some officers on "detail" from the Pentagon) to ensure that the
Defense Department could keep an eye on its rival agencies.
Vice President Cheney, himself a former secretary of defense, and his
good friend Rumsfeld ensured the success of this seeding effort by
some fairly forceful means.
At least twice, I saw Cheney staffers show up unannounced at State
Department meetings, and I heard other State Department officials
grumble about this habit.
The Rumsfeld officials could play hardball, sometimes even leaking to
the press the results of classified meetings that did not go their
way in order to get the decisions reversed.
After I got wind of the Pentagon's dislike for the approved
interagency anti-drug strategy for Afghanistan, details of the plan
quickly wound up in the hands of foreign countries sympathetic to the
Pentagon view. I've heard other, similarly troubling stories about
leaks of classified information to the press.
Many of Cheney's and Rumsfeld's cronies still work at the Pentagon
and elsewhere. Rumsfeld's successor, Robert M. Gates, has spoken of
increasing America's "soft power," its ability to attract others by
our example, culture and values, but thus far, this push to
reestablish civilian leadership has been largely talk and little action.
Gates is clearly sincere about chipping away at the military's
expanding role, but many of his subordinates are not.
The encroachment within America's borders continued with the
military's increased involvement in domestic surveillance and its
attempts to usurp the role of the federal courts in reviewing detainee cases.
The Pentagon also resisted ceding any authority over its extensive
intelligence operations to the first director of national
intelligence, John D. Negroponte -- a State Department official who
eventually gave up his post to Mike McConnell, a former Navy admiral.
The Bush administration also appointed Michael V. Hayden, a four-star
Air Force general, to be the director of the CIA. National Security
Adviser Stephen J. Hadley saw much of the responsibility for
developing and implementing policy on the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan -- surely the national security adviser's job -- given to
Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, Bush's new "war czar." By 2008, the
military was running much of the national security apparatus.
The Pentagon opened a southern front earlier this year when it
attempted to dominate the new Merida Initiative, a promising $400
million program to help Mexico battle drug cartels.
Despite the admirable efforts of the federal drug czar, John P.
Walters, to keep the White House focused on the civilian
law-enforcement purpose of the Merida Initiative, the military runs a
big chunk of that program as well.
Now the Pentagon has drawn up plans to deploy 20,000 U.S. soldiers
inside our borders by 2011, ostensibly to help state and local
officials respond to terrorist attacks or other catastrophes. But
that mission could easily spill over from emergency counterterrorism
work into border-patrol efforts, intelligence gathering and law
enforcement operations -- which would run smack into the Posse
Comitatus Act, the long-standing law restricting the military's role
in domestic law enforcement. So the generals are not only dominating
our government activities abroad, at our borders and in Washington,
but they also seem to intend to spread out across the heartland of America.
If President-elect Obama wants to reverse this trend, he must take
four steps -- and very quickly:
1. Direct -- or, better yet, order -- Gates, Jones, Blair and the
other military leaders in his Cabinet to rid the Pentagon's lower
ranks of Rumsfeld holdovers whose only mission is to increase the
power of the Pentagon.
2. Turn Gates's speeches on the need to promote soft power into
reality with a massive transfer of funds from the Pentagon to the
State Department, the Justice Department and USAID.
3. Put senior, respected civilians -- not retired or active military
personnel -- into key subsidiary positions in the intelligence
community and the National Security Council.
4. Above all, he should let his appointees with military backgrounds
know swiftly and firmly that, under the Constitution, he is their
commander, and that he will not tolerate the well-rehearsed lip
service that the military gave to civilian agencies and even
President Bush over the past four years.
In short, he should retake the government before it devours him and
us -- and return civilian-led government to the people of the United States.
Prepared by: Richard Lake, Senior Editor www.mapinc.org
Subj: 002 Benefits of graphic anti-meth ads questioned
From: Doug Snead <>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2008 11:09:13 -0800
Benefits of graphic anti-meth ads questioned
Subj: 003 Re: DSADMIN: Traditional Media is alive and well
From: Doug Snead <>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2008 12:37:27 -0800
I think Kevin Zeese's analysis (below) is spot-on, and well worth heeding.
Newspapers: Defensive, Depressed and Desperate? 12/22/2008
The future for the US newspaper industry looks bleak,
Sunday, December 21, 2008 By Niall Stanage, in New York
Print Media Will Find Its Natural Level Online
Chuck Schilling, December 22, 2008 7:01 am(nielsen-online.com)
Are Printed Newspapers Becoming Thing Of Past?
MSNBC - Dec 18, 2008 "More and more readers get their news online, and printed editions of many newspapers have become slimmer and more expensive." http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28285123/ . . .
> At 06:50 PM 12/16/08, Kevin Zeese wrote:
> > Excellent. I've seen some of your articles and
> they are well done. A few
> > other reformers do so as well. No doubt there are
> many more people in ARO
> > who could be doing the same.
> > There are a lot of outlets and readers on the web and
> reformers should be
> > regularly published on web news sites and blogs.
> Traditional media is in
> > major trouble. Advertising is way down as is
> readership/viewership. The
> > peak for newspaper readership was way back in 1984 and
> had dropped about one
> > third since then. The tipping point between web vs.
> traditional media is
> > coming quickly. The reform movement should be all
> over it as it is much
> > more friendly than the traditional media to the reform
> perspective. If it
> > done aggressively enough I expect we will be
> successful in forcing the
> > traditional media to cover reform views more by
> normalizing our issues in
> > the news.
> > KZ
Subj: 004 It really is alive and well Re: Traditional Media is alive and well
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2008 14:22:08 -0800
Kevin Zeese's analysis is interesting, but not completely accurate,
though he ends with the point that we may be more successful if we
approach on-line media first as a way of increasing the interest of
traditional print media.
The very success of reform LTE and OPED writers as documented by MAP
shows that we can directly address the print media.
Al Neuharth, an expert on the newspaper industry, has written in his
USA TODAY Plain Talk columns twice this year about the continued
success of the newspapers which are not among the top 100 in the
United States. His latest column is here:
His analysis follows studies that show that community newspapers, in
small towns and in communities within the large cities, are doing
well, often increasing readership in hard times.
Some suggest this is because those who become unemployed or who fear
becoming so look to their community newspapers not just for jobs but
also for ways to save money.
Mr. Neuharth writes that there are about 6,000 of these community
newspapers in the United States.
The large majority of them do not see the need to participate in
Audit Bureau of Circulations audits (which are not free). About the
only way to find out about their circulation trends is to call them.
However, they are superb targets for letters to the editor.
Unlike the top major newspapers who are tending to want shorter
letters as they reduce the number of pages they print community
newspapers often welcome letters of three or four hundred words - and
longer OPEDs as long as they are not asked to pay for the OPEDs.
I see the success folks have with letters on our side every day. Just
look at the newspapers our top 100 published letter writers are
published in at http://www.mapinc.org/lte/topwrit.htm The very large
majority are community newspapers.
Many on line forums don't even come close to the readership of even
the smallest of community newspapers where anything a reformer gets
printed will have well over a thousand readers - readers who have a
cross section of views - the readers we need to reach to change public opinion.
On the web we never really know how many folks read what we write, be
it in forums, blogs, whatever, just as I will never know how many
folks actually read this.
But we do know that folks self select from the web sites which
reflect their views rather than those which would cause them to
question their views.
We, Doug, you, I, the folks on this list, the volunteers who make MAP
what it is are an exception. We look at newspaper websites every day
without bias in that we wish to find the articles on our issues,
good, bad, or ugly.
Thank You, Doug, for your post. It is helping me to think about a DSW
feature I am starting to draft for our Jan. 2nd issue announcing our
Letter Writer of the year.
Doug, I could not help but notice that you selected links which
support a view different from that of Al Neuharth. I find the links
are wanting just as Mr. Neuharth suggests because they fail to
consider the community newspapers.
I have posted thoughts on this subject from an ARO discussion, below.
At 01:48 PM 12/17/08, Matt Elrod wrote:
>OTOH, one has to admire Robert Sharpe and others who have
>brought the message of drug policy reform to rural communities,
>for surely it is they more than city dwellers whom congressional
>staffers and lobbyists are trying to impress by being tough on
>drugs. It is certainly so in Canada.
>Just wanted to muddy the discussion ...
>Tom Angell wrote:
The number of people who read a piece is important, but so is the
kind of people.
For example, a piece read by 4,000 community members in a smalltime
paper in Bangor, Maine might be - in at least some senses - a lot
less valuable than a piece on The Hill's blog that is read by 300
congressional staffers and lobbyists.
Just wanted to add that to the discussion...
At 04:51 PM 12/17/08, Nora Callahan wrote:
>I was going to muddy it, then thought to read ahead and avoid
>redundancy. I think that just over half of America's voters live
>rural - a rather large voting block. Thank you for your comments.
At 03:37 PM 12/22/08, Doug Snead wrote:
>I think Kevin Zeese's analysis (below) is spot-on, and well worth heeding.
>Newspapers: Defensive, Depressed and Desperate? 12/22/2008
>The future for the US newspaper industry looks bleak,
>Sunday, December 21, 2008 By Niall Stanage, in New York
>Print Media Will Find Its Natural Level Online
>Chuck Schilling, December 22, 2008 7:01 am(nielsen-online.com)
>Are Printed Newspapers Becoming Thing Of Past?
>MSNBC - Dec 18, 2008 "More and more readers get their news online,
>and printed editions of many newspapers have become slimmer and more
>expensive." http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28285123/ . . .
> > At 06:50 PM 12/16/08, Kevin Zeese wrote:
> > > Excellent. I've seen some of your articles and
> > they are well done. A few
> > > other reformers do so as well. No doubt there are
> > many more people in ARO
> > > who could be doing the same.
> > >
> > > There are a lot of outlets and readers on the web and
> > reformers should be
> > > regularly published on web news sites and blogs.
> > Traditional media is in
> > > major trouble. Advertising is way down as is
> > readership/viewership. The
> > > peak for newspaper readership was way back in 1984 and
> > had dropped about one
> > > third since then. The tipping point between web vs.
> > traditional media is
> > > coming quickly. The reform movement should be all
> > over it as it is much
> > > more friendly than the traditional media to the reform
> > perspective. If it
> > > done aggressively enough I expect we will be
> > successful in forcing the
> > > traditional media to cover reform views more by
> > normalizing our issues in
> > > the news.
> > >
> > > KZ
Subj: 005 Kevin Zeese: Traditional media is in major trouble.
From: Doug Snead <>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2008 15:46:10 -0800
> ... Thank You, Doug, for your post. ...
No problem, Richard - I think it is good to continue the discussion as the
Mr Neuharth's opinion piece from last September in no way mitigates the ste
ep slide in printed newspaper readership. Even his employer USA Today (Gan
nett) is watching their community newspapers decline.
Gannett starts 10% nationwide staff cut
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, HI - Dec 3, 2008
"... as of yesterday afternoon, but the Advertiser did lay off a combined 8
1 employees in its newsroom and community newspaper in the last four months
I certainly wish we could rely on the various tiny "community newspapers" t
o replace the big urban traditional, printed newspapers. A few, like Mr Neu
harth, say the various small-circulation community newspapers aren't suffer
ing as severely as the older print-edition newspapers. But such little comm
unity newspapers are only, at best, a marginal replacement for the (formerl
y) big circulation printed papers of yesteryear. I wish we could rely on Mr
Neuharth's happy September scenario.
But print-only "community newspapers" are in the same sinking position as o
ther printed newspapers, even if the slide is not as pronounced...
"revenues at the daily newspaper and the community newspapers and shoppers
totaled $19.08 million, down 11.7%"
- -- Graphic Arts Online, 12/21/2008 10:17:00 PM
Latest Layoff Victim: California Chain's Founding Publisher
(Editor & Publisher)
... in California that became Silicon Valley Community Newspapers (SVCN), a
nd became its principal owner and CEO when it was spun off as a separate gr
Tallahassee Democrat lays off 16 employees
Tallahassee.com, FL - Dec 2, 2008
"The cuts were announced by Bob Dickey, president of Gannett=E2=80=99s US C
ommunity Newspaper Division"
Of course, this is not to say that I can't find *some* little community new
spapers somewhere, that are bucking the trend:
Monday, December 22nd, 2008
Digital versus print and apple and oranges analysis
Yet Kevin's point remains: "Traditional media is in major trouble. Adverti
sing is way down as is readership/viewership." We need to not limit ourselv
es to traditional media, unless we wish to suffer a similar fate.
While MAPinc should of course continue to archive drug-policy-related artic
les from traditional printed papers, if we limit ourselves to increasingly
marginalized traditional print media, what's going to happen, do you think?
Maybe the community printed newspapers will somehow balance out the stead
y erosion of large traditional print newspapers, and I hope so, but I think
that is unlikely.
In any event, at the Media Awareness Project we need to be aware of the med
ia, even if that media isn't all from traditional printed newspapers.
Don't get me wrong: there is nothing else like MAPInc on the planet, and a
big part of that success is due to your most diligent efforts, Richard! Not
icing and talking about traditional printed media trends, and talking about
MAPinc policy, is in no way intended to detract from the marvelous job you
End of MAPTalk-Digest V08 #92